There’s little doubt Rangers’ pre-season then competitive action got off to something akin to a stellar start. Win after win (with occasional draw) saw Steven Gerrard and his shiny new signings looking like serious title contenders.
Ignoring the circumstances of any of the results this competitive campaign, the sheer consistency was there, and we were filled with nothing but praise of Gerrard and the impact his squad was having.
Fast forward a few weeks and it’s all looking a lot bleaker.
It took until the 79th minute (while Livi were a man down, we hasten to add) before a third goal sealed 3 points for the home side yesterday, and we have got to admit the performances aren’t there and by and large the results have become a little less consistent.
Up till Brandon Barker’s 79th minute strike, Rangers hadn’t scored a goal from open play, aside Morelos’ winner v Legia, since the 18th of August v East Fife. That’s almost five matches of play without a single goal scored – and indeed, if we include all goals scored, open play or not, it’s five goals in the past five matches in all competitions, 3 of which came yesterday.
And the hard results of the past 5 are 3 wins, a draw and a loss. The picture for the season overall looks better, but that goodwill of the opening stages has just gone slightly AWOL in the past month.
Rangers are not looking particularly good right now. They haven’t looked good since the win over Midtjylland with huffing and puffing v Legia, St Mirren and Livi among others, and the goals have dried up.
And, if we’re brutally honest, domestically they’ve not been convincing this whole season.
A struggle v Killie, gubbing 10-man Hibs, struggling v St Mirren, getting horsed by Celtic, then struggling to put away 10-man Livi while huffing and puffing again to a win in Fife isn’t really the performances of champions. So yeah, a struggle overall.
Yes, Celtic haven’t been great either, far from it, but right now they’re better than us.
Now, PERSPECTIVE: this is not to overreact. Bloody Man City, the all-conquering titans of English football lost to piddling Norwich, so let’s get some context.
Rangers are still second, only three points behind Celtic. And the only non-win of this domestic season has indeed been that loss to Lennon’s side.
But form right now is shaky. Performances are poor. And there’s the small matter of Dutch giants Feyenoord coming to Ibrox on Thursday, which we will discuss later, even if Jaap Stam’s men haven’t had the best start to their season.
We need a good performance this week preferably with a decent result, and, while we can only speak for ourselves at Ibrox Noise, we’d feel a lot better.